by van Driel et al (1998) is that there is also value to having disciplinary experts study subject matter from ateaching and learning perspective. Likewise, research has also shown the importance of PCK in teaching (e.g., Gess- Newsome et al., 1993; Smith & Neale, 1989). Frost and Jean (2003) concluded that understanding interdisciplinaryapproaches will result in fuller understandings resulting in a stronger bond within the university and academia.Healy (2000) concludes further that academics tend to maintain stronger disciplinary, rather than institutional, ties because they have different values, goals, approaches towards teaching and research, and ways of communicating.Emerging research on designing effective eLearning is beginning to reveal that subject differences could be animportant confounding variable (Arbaugh, 2005; Jones, Zenios, & Griffiths, 2004), though a review of the literature by Tallent-Runnels et al (2006) shows there is a void in the research on how eLearning differs across the disciplines.In regard to disciplinary differences, early research by Becker (1989; see also Becher & Trowler, 2001;Biglan, 1973a; 1973b) identified four disciplinary dimensions, including hard/soft, pure/applied within the cognitiverealm; convergent/divergent and rural/urban within the social realm of communities and networks. However, withinthe field of higher education in Canada, the most significant literature on this topic is the extensive researchconducted by Donald (2002), which aimed to reach a deeper understanding of the thinking approaches taken indifferent disciplines and the application of these approaches to student intellectual development. Results of Donald’sresearch reveal important differences in thinking, validation processes and learning activities between disciplines.Although her research is not focused on the theory and practice of instructional design, the results have implicationsfor the field of ID. The proposed study will build on the disciplinary differences identified by Donald.
Emerging notions of instructional design practice
A substantial body of literature in ID concentrates on how instructional designers should systematically practice their craft through the application of models (e.g., Dick, Carey & Carey, 2005; Morrison, Ross, & Kemp,2004; Shambaugh & Magliaro, 2005). In part, models of instructional design (e.g. Instructional Systems Design)have helped ground instructional designers’ professional identities as practitioners. For example, when Bichelmeyer,Smith and Hennig (2004) asked instructional design practitioners what ID and technology meant to them, manyanswered by describing the ADDIE model, or systematic design of instruction. Perhaps less experienced designerstalk about tasks and technologies rather than larger implications of their work, signaling developmental levels(Schwier, Campbell & Kenny, 2004). However, the worth of these models and processes has been called intoquestion many times and for several reasons over the years (Gordon & Zemke, 2000; Molenda, 2003; Rowland,1992).Recent research examining the actual practice of instructional designers suggests that designers do refer toconventional processes when describing their work, but practice varies significantly according to context (Cox,2003; Cox & Osguthorpe, 2003; Kenny, Zhang, Schwier & Campbell, 2005; Rowland, 1992; Visscher-Voerman &Gustafson, 2004). Other critics argue key aspects of ID have been overlooked in conventional literature. For example, Gibbons (2003) argues that we need to re-examine the assumptions and foundations of instructional designand align it more closely to other design sciences, while Wilson (2005) further suggests that craft and aestheticissues, while important, haven’t been included in our training or incorporated meaningfully into our practice. Thecontinuing focus in our field on “models” of ID may have a detrimental impact on both what we research and whatwe teach and fail to contribute to the novice designer’s formation of Self as a moral, ethical actor. Based on a three-year study of twenty instructional designers in Canadian universities, Campbell, Kenny and Schwier (c.f. Campbell,Schwier & Kenny, 2005; Schwier, Campbell & Kenny, 2007) have recently proposed that clients (usually facultymembers) working with instructional designers in development projects engage as learners in an agentic process of professional and personal transformation that has the potential to transform the institution. That is, they argue thatthe ID process, in which faculty, designers, and others develop new ideas and understandings through conversation,is a powerful form of cultural or collaborative learning (Schwier, Campbell & Kenny, 2004). There seem to bemultiple reciprocating or overlapping communities of practices in the process of ID—the community of designers,the community of the client’s academic discipline, and the teaching-learning community within which projects areembedded.This study focuses on one problem of practice for designers working within the disciplinary communities of specific academic departments, which is how instructional designers form, from their generic training, anunderstanding of these disciplinary ‘shared values and beliefs’ within a discipline or across disciplines in order towork more collaboratively with faculty for more effective and productive learning outcomes.
Data Collection and participants
This study is the pilot study of a three phase study, intended to develop and refine the research protocols, i.e. primary data collection and analysis methods. The data were collected using open-ended questions aimed to